My name is Ryan Symancek. I am a recent graduate of Bates College, documentary filmmaker, private pilot, and a motoring enthusiast. I’m joining the Climate Ride in support of the ClimateFoundation.org, a foundation dedicated to educating individuals on the real problem we face today, Global Climate Change. What I find so intriguing about the Climate Foundation is that they are not just an advocacy group, but an environmental engineering and design group determined to investigate new avenues in energy usage and better ways to decrease our carbon footprint. From the development of Biochar sanitation in developing nations, to the preservation of coral reefs, the Climate Foundation covers vast landscapes in order to reach the common goal of halting global warming.
So what does this have to do with me? I’m an automotive journalist, doesn’t that make me the bad guy? I’d like to think not, and here’s why:
My entire life I’ve dreamed about becoming involved in motorsport, and I’ve been lucky to do so thus far. However, my entire life did not see me advocating for climate change. As I grow older, and begin to change the way I look at politics and environmental issues, I feel it is important for me to show that even though I’m not the poster child for advocating the need for climate awareness, I’d like to think I’m trying. I feel that the need for people in all walks of life to be aware of the climate issues we face is the most important way to start change.
In my profession, I find there are two types of people when it comes to the Climate Change topic…. Those who have an idea that the earth is changing because of human existence (and as an added bonus, enjoy the outdoors), and those who frankly don’t care as long as they can keep racing and driving petrol vehicles.
The latter is the wrong way to handle the motorsports addiction. Being an automotive enthusiast shouldn’t limit a person’s agenda to just motoring. I am human. I love the outdoors, biking, hiking, swimming, photographing wildlife. Seeing ecosystems change abruptly because I am human is an extremely scary and disappointing realization. After all, I’m knowledgeable of the fact that the number 15 is bigger than 5, owls do exit, and there are hats (see the John Oliver video linked below).
I will continue to drive my car, a 5-speed Subaru Impreza. However, I will do it with the knowledge that automotive propulsion is and needs to continue to change for the better.
A gas engine is a remarkable piece of engineering, and I love the sound they make. But in reality, I don’t need to drive petrol engines everyday. I travel a lot, and I promise you my driving pleasure is not fulfilled while I’m stuck idling in traffic for an hour trying to enter the Lincoln Tunnel. For reasons like this, you could understand that the future possibility of owning a Tesla might be awesome for both your wallet and moral. Transportation needs to change, commercialized industry needs to change. Our dependence on fossil fuels to move goods all over the county is astoundingly too high.
I am riding for awareness of the need for further production into fossil fuel free transportation in the vehicles we drive daily (and to see if my earlier years of BMX and Velodrome championship wins still have any merit).
On top of all of this, I will take part in the 300 mile bike ride, and with the help of filmmaking partner Cam Held, and Climate Foundation founder Brian von Herzen, I will develop a short documentary focused on my struggle throughout the ride and the stories of others as I travel from New York to D.C. searching for how I fit into our generation’s biggest problem.
HOW TO HELP
My goal is to raise $500 by August 15th, and $2,800 before the ride starts.
You can make a secure online donation today by clicking on the 'Support Me' button. You'll automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified by email of your support. Your donation will be noted in the video, so look out for the documentary upon its completion.
Climate ride website